Ruins Tank, Indian Peak, Apache Creek, Graver Wash, Hyde Creek Seep, Pine Creek, Dead Steer Basin, Deer Tank, Happy Camp, Two Lions Tank, Boneyard Loop, Granite Knob, Juniper Mesa. These are the names of home; the names of a place I love more than any other place on earth. This is the place where I have spent the past five and a half years; a place where my spirit set up camp and refuses to leave.
It is morning, early and cool; a perfect time to sit on the south side of any building. This morning, it is the south side of the old barn facing Walnut Creek. I can hear it's movement: a slow gurgle, sluggish, happy and waning from the winter's floods.
There is not a living human for miles, literally. The ranches to the east and west are busy with their ranchy duties, but in between it's just me, the dogs, the horses and the wildlife.
I haven't heard a single car or plane or human voice since last night at 5pm.
This is a special time for me; four days alone at Walnut Creek. The family has gone on a trip to California, so it's just me and the place I love. I haven't had a solo experience (for longer than one day) in about 18 years. I have four whole days and three nights!
When I was 19 years old, I wandered along the Appalachian trail for three months alone. It was a planned trip. I had planned the trip with a partner; however, she backed out three days before we were to leave. Everyone was sure I would cancel or postpone. Of course, I went anyway.
It was the first best thing I ever did with my life. I was alone! Completely alone and free and walking and walking and writing and thinking and listening. It was 1984, and at that time the Appalachian Trail wasn't exactly crawling with people. I walked the 100 mile wilderness 100% alone and I was ecstatic.
As a child I was always solitary, quiet and independent, but that long solitary walk did something to change the way I experienced myself in relation to the world (as in earth/planet.) That adventure solidified a feeling of connectedness and strength. I was simply another creature on this whirling blue/green planet. Nothing more; nothing less.
So here we are: Mountain Lion, Elk, Badger and Me.